TWO friends are challenging themselves to an extra-gruelling three peak challenge in memory of an architect who died following a two-year battle with cancer.

Andrew Grounsell, an architect from Newcastle who designed several well-known buildings at Durham University, died in October aged 54.

Friends and colleagues Darren Purvis, from Birtley, near Chester-le-Street, and Luke Westoe, from Morpeth in Northumberland, are now aiming to not just complete the three peaks challenge – but to cycle between them as well.

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The challenge will involve cycling more than 1,000 miles, ascending over 40,000ft by bike, and climbing a further 10,000ft by foot up Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis.

They will be raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Maggie's.

Mr Grounsell, a husband and father-of-two, designed an extension to Durham University's Bill Bryson library and an extension to sports facilities at Maiden Castle.

Mr Purvis said: “We know this challenge will be very tough, physically and mentally, but it will be nothing compared to what Andrew went through."

Alan Shearer, a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, recently met with the pair to find out more about their fundraising.

He said: “Luke and Darren really have their work cut out with this challenge.

“Having done a bit of cycling myself, I know how tough it can be. The idea of having to climb the three peaks on top of all those miles does not sound like fun at all. I take my hat off to them."

The Andrew Grounsell Challenge will begin on the 25th August and, all being well, will end on 2nd September 2017.

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